Unbelievable! Haircut for $2.80
New kid on the block pulling in those who needed a haircut - and those who did not - by offering them for just $2.80. Customers came from as far as Sengkang and Yishun for the bargain, which does not come with a pre-cut shampoo. -ST
Forget JB - all head for a snip at Snip Avenue
TEN hair salons at a Bedok Reservoir neighbourhood centre had hardly any business yesterday: A new kid on the block was pulling in those who needed a haircut - and those who did not - by offering them for just $2.80.
Business was brisk at Snip Avenue, one among the row of shops at the foot of Block 631, Bedok Reservoir Road.
Customers came from as far afield as Sengkang and Yishun for the bargain, which does not come with a pre-cut shampoo.
Polytechnic student Jeff Lim, 18, who lives in Woodlands and usually pays $10 for his monthly haircut, said he was sceptical about the quality of cut at first.
'But the hairstylists are all very beautiful, so the haircuts here can't be that bad,' he reasoned.
He had to wait 40 minutes for his turn, but it was well worth it, he said, emerging from the shop sporting the layered look he asked for, 'like the singers in 5566', the Taiwanese boyband.
His uncle William Tan, 43, a project executive who lives in Katong, was another happy customer who now thinks he may stop going to Johor Baru for his monthly haircut.
'At $2.80, it's even cheaper than in Malaysia,' he said.
Then there were others in the queue who were at first drawn by the bargain price, but ended up going for more than just a haircut.
Customer service officer Eva Md Yussuf, 38, was taking her daughter for a walk when the advertisements outside the salon caught her eye.
She got her five-year-old daughter a haircut and also put herself through the works - highlights and a treatment - and ended up spending $90.80, several cuts above $2.80.
She said: 'I was attracted by the $2.80 haircut, but I thought I'd try the other services as well since I'm here.'
She is exactly the kind of customer that Snip Avenue boss Jimmy Tan wants.
'When a customer is happy with the haircut, sometimes, he would go for other services like perms and highlights too,' said the 50-year-old, whose first outlet in Tampines opened last June with haircuts priced at $6.80.
His other outlets in Bedok North, Serangoon Central and Yishun charge either $3.80 or $4.80.
When asked how he sustained the business, he said: 'The profit margin is not high now, but the concept is to have many outlets and, hopefully, the mass volume can cover the cost.'
His many outlets and the fact that the one in Bedok Reservoir is still in the game after eight months is a possible indication that his business idea is working.
The traffic he gets probably more than makes up for his low takings from each head. The Bedok Reservoir outlet tends to about 85 on weekdays and over 100 on weekends.
The six hairstylists work 10 hours a day at a steady clip, with few breaks. Asked how her job was, stylist Maggie Chong, 22, had only one word to describe it: 'Tiring.'
Theirs is a happy problem which the other salons - charging between $10 and $13 for a haircut - do not share.
Mrs J. Lee, 36, who charges $10 for a haircut, reckons her earnings have been crimped by at least half.
She spent most of yesterday watching television and chatting with her two stylists.
She does not intend to lower her prices though.
Said Mrs Lee: 'How am I going to lower my price and fight with them? What if they decide to cut for free one day?'